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Author QuotedRainer Maria Rilke
Title QuotedNeue Gedichte
Date (Year/Month/Day)1965/11/15
Imprint 
QuotationI continue with Rilke (and talked to novices of him yesterday)-often I can't stand his mental climate when it is too adolescent. But when he is out of that, above it, beyond it, he is a great artist. Also it falls often short of the real depth and clarity of vision. He is blocked by cleverness, by emotion, by clogging sensuality, from really mystical apprehension (except perhaps in some lines of the Duino Elegies-but I am working on the Neue Gedichte). When he is objective (in his own way of being objective), he is great. Perhaps at his greatest in his Olive Garden poem-the agony of Gethsemani, which Catholics have probably read with severe displeasure as a denial of faith. Is it, though? Is it perhaps not a deeper realization of the loneliness of Gethsemani and a key to Rilke's "unchristian" spirit, or a pointer to a solution-that he obscurely could not have a Mediator "outside," he had to be completely identified with Christ, all is not perfectly "pur" but it is nevertheless all the more true. Did not Christ take upon himself the utter, inadequate forlornness of the unbeliever? But I admit I am getting into the tone and music of Rilke, and sensing the differences of mood and intonation (v.g., in "Gesang der Frauen an den Dichter" ["Song of Women to the Poet"]-lovely and funny).
JournalDancing in the Water of Life: Seeking Peace in the Hermitage. The Journals of Thomas Merton, Volume 5, 1963-1965.; Edited by Robert E. Daggy. / San Francisco : Harper Collins. 1997, p. 316
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